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Court battle looms between UWI, Mona and PhD student

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

The Supreme Court has granted leave to PhD student in biochemistry, Suzette Curtello, to challenge a decision of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in relation to certain requirements to complete her degree. 

She claims the university is insisting that she should complete nine additional credits to finish the programme. 

The university also reportedly said the student is to resubmit her thesis within 18 months. 

Justice Bryan Sykes granted the student leave yesterday to take the matter to the Judicial Review Court where she wants the UWI's decisions quashed. 

She's being represented by attorney-at-law Caroline Hay. 

The student says she entered into the programme in 2007 and the nine credits being insisted on by the UWI were not a part of the requirements at the time.

According to court documents, in 2013 when she submitted the thesis, her faculty waived the requirement as it was not required. 

However, she said in 2014, the Board of Graduate Studies said the nine credits were required. 

Curtello said this year, the faculty corrected her thesis and said it was ready for oral defence, one of the last hurdles before being awarded the doctorate.  

However, she cannot go through with that process until the issue over the requirements is settled. 

In granting the order, the judge said the Review Court will determine whether the decisions by the UWI are reasonable. 

The court's decision was ex parte, meaning that the decision was decided by the judge in the presence of only the lawyer for the student.